THE POWERFUL story of a Rugby woman whose father has dementia has featured in a hard-hitting photographic exhibition at the Houses of Parliament.
Nimisha Shukla and her dad Sharad featured among a collection of stories in the exhibition ‘Dementia Care: The crisis behind closed doors’.
They were chosen by the Alzheimer’s Society as part of its campaign for a dedicated Dementia Fund to end the financial punishment faced by people with dementia – of which there are 1,360 in Rugby.
Sharad was diagnosed with dementia in 2015 – but nothing prepared Nimisha for how hard it would be.
She said: “We spoke to social services, and the third question they asked us was, ‘How much money do you have in your bank account?’ We were told if we had more than a certain amount, we wouldn’t get any support, and the tone was just so cold.
“We were a family facing up to dementia for the first time. We needed compassion, empathy and guidance. But we were spoken to in a way that made us feel it was wrong to ask for support and information.”
She said social services told her Sharad needed an assessment but “then there was silence, there was no follow-up.
“We were later sent a private care directory and told our case was closed. No follow-up letter. No phone call. Nothing.”
The charity’s calls for a fund follow the publication of figures revealing people with the condition can expect to spend £100,000 on their care, often being forced to sell their own home.
Alzheimer’s Society wants to see £2.4billion set aside to cover the additional social care costs people with dementia are asked to pay because of the complexity of their health condition.
Janice Le Tellier, Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager for Warwickshire, commented: “Thousands of people across the region are facing financial punishment, just because they happened to develop dementia and not some other disease. The evidence of the gross inequity continues to pile up.
“We need an immediate cash injection through a dedicated Dementia Fund, while the Government works out a long term solution to finally end this crisis in care.
“A million people in the UK will have dementia by 2021. With the current care system leaving families across our region in financial ruin, we are sleepwalking into a crisis.”
Visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/fixdementiacare for more information.